Julie Harper, the 42-year old Carlsbad, California, mother who gunned down her teacher husband in their home, will be the next fascinating story to air on Dateline NBC. Every weekend, Dateline NBC engages its viewers with tales of intrigue and mystery. Recently, The Inquisitr brought you Dateline’s coverage of the Steven Avery murder case. Sunday’s Dateline story, entitled “The House on Badger Lane,” will detail how a former real estate agent and mother fatally wounded her husband, a beloved teacher at Carlsbad High School, where he taught math. The story will be told through the eyes of law enforcement officials, family members, and other insiders. Julie Harper still insists that she killed her Jason Harper in self defense. Today, she is currently serving a 40-year sentence for the death of her husband, according to CBS-8 San Diego.
Julie Harper’s story made headlines in 2012 after the community learned that 39-year old Jason Harper was found dead in the master bedroom of his Carlsbad home—a beautiful and tranquil beach town with upscale coffee shops and stores. Investigators had been called to the home to perform a welfare check on Jason Harper. When officers arrived they found the dead body of a man in his late 30s, who was later identified as Jason Harper. To investigators, it appeared that the man had been shot, and then covered with blankets and other items to hide the body.
The wife and children had vanished, causing detectives to wonder if they had also been killed. After an extensive search, Julie Harper was found alive at her father’s Scripps Ranch home. She was immediately arrested and booked her into the Vista jail. Dateline NBC producers will show viewers how police began to gather information about the couple, who had been married for 11 years, before recently filing divorce papers. On the surface, they seemed like any normal couple living the American dream, but investigators learned that the lavish lifestyle they lived in the Carlsbad home, didn’t reflect what was going on behind the scenes. In fact, behind the scenes is what Julie Harper talked a lot about when she finally went to trial, where she described a life punctuated by domestic violence.
And the couple’s money problems also heightened the tension in the relationship. Julie Harper had been a successful real estate agent but had to cut back on work due to arthritis. Her weight gain from the medications also caused a lot of stress, leading her husband to call her fat in front of the kids, according to NBC San Diego.
Family and friends describe Jason Harper as a great father who was extremely hands on with his children. As a high school teacher, he had the respect and admiration from both his fellow teachers and his students. But, no one knew about his life at home, according to Julie, who said that people remember Jason as a devoted and loving teacher by day but by night he was a violent and aggressive abuser who subjected her to years of physical and emotional abuse—and sometimes rape.
At the courthouse, Jason Harper’s family members gave impact statements about how his death has affected them and the children. Though, Julie Harper insisted that there was a dark side to him that no one else witnessed—a dark side that she recorded on her cell phone of Jason Harper in a rage.
Dateline NBC will tell you that the first jury believed her testimony and found Julie Harper not guilty of first-degree murder. However, a second trial, which was delayed due to her pregnancy, returned a verdict of guilty for second degree murder. The judge in that case sentenced her to 40 years in prison. Look at all of the evidence for yourself and you decide.
Was Julie Harper defending herself against a domestic abuser? Or was this a case of coldblooded murder? Tune in to Dateline NBC this Sunday night. Check your local listings for times. Here are two other cases that have been featured on Dateline—Kenia Monge and Fred Mueller.
Julie Harper Testifies About Abusive Domestic Life With Jason Harper (Inside Edition)
Julie Harper Pregnant, Trial Postponed
[Image via Twitter]